I've now been released entirely from my present Jury Service. I had a phone conversation with Annie at the Hove Crown Court this afternoon. She was very sympathetic. I explained that the toe was no better - still red and swollen and painful to walk with - and it was my belief that it wasn't a blister at all, but something more serious. No ordinary blister would go on and on like this. It might be an inflamed ligament, or something called bursitis. Anyway, I had another appointment with the doctor lined up for early the following week, and I hoped then to make some headway on diagnosis and treatment.
I definitely wouldn't be recovered enough to walk painlessly during the following week. In fact I couldn't say when that might be so. So she released me from any further duties this time around.
We spoke for quite a few minutes, and I did unburden myself a little. I felt I hadn't pulled my weight. I'd been liable to give ten days of jury service, but I'd attended the Hove and Brighton Courts on only four of those days, and had sat in a jury for only two days. This wasn't at all my idea of 'two week's public service'. At the same time, I felt cheated of the full juror experience, for the only case I did any work on had been halted, so that a retrial could be arranged.
She agreed it was disappointing for me, but I must reconcile myself to how it had turned out. And I might get selected again in the future, but the computer did the choosing, and it was - indeed had to be - an entirely random process. So this might have been my one and only opportunity to serve on a jury.
I asked what I should do about claiming expenses. Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to claim any at all! But she said I must. They couldn't end up owing people money due to them, and it would be perfectly proper (and keep their accounting arrangements in order) if I submitted my claim in the normal way, and claimed what I was entitled to. Hmm. I suppose so.
It hasn't of course been a complete and unsatisfying waste of time. Not by any means. I did see something of how the court process works, even if I didn't take part from beginning to end. I had the thrill of being selected for a jury, and the experience of being sworn in. I saw the judge, the barristers, and the various court officials at work. I saw what a defendant looks like when caught up in the machinery of the law. I heard quite a bit of evidence on a subject I'd hitherto not known much about.
Most of all, I met and chatted to a number of other jurors and learned something of their own lives. It was quite clear that several of them took to me, and certainly myself to them, and it's a huge shame that we probably will never meet again.
I try not to think about it too much. The bad toe has been getting me down, and from time to time I've felt quite weepy in the last day or two. I feel very upset about not even saying proper goodbyes to all those very pleasant people.
But I'll get over it. I'm not up to pilates tomorrow, but perhaps I could manage to get to whatever après-pilates event might be arranged, and sip a bit of wine. Let Fiona take the strain.
Let's send a few texts and see what results!